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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2019 Dec;38(12):2659-2671. doi: 10.1002/etc.4583. Epub 2019 Nov 2.

Associations Between Chronic Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Health Indices in Gulf of Mexico Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) Post Deepwater Horizon.

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University of South Florida College of Marine Science, St, Petersburg, FL, USA.


A time series of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) data was collected for Gulf of Mexico demersal fishes in the years following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2012-2017). Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) were sampled via demersal longline at repeat stations in the northern Gulf of Mexico in 2012 to 2015 and 2017. Bile samples (n = 256) were analyzed via high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection for PAH metabolites as a biomarker of exposure to PAHs. Liver tissues (n = 230) were analyzed for accumulation of PAHs and alkylated homologs via quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) extractions and gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry quantification. Over the 6-yr time series, exposure to petrogenic PAHs increased by an average of 178%, correlating with an average 22% decline in Fulton's condition factor. The decline in Fulton's condition factor was positively correlated with a 53% decline in percentage of liver lipid. There was no accumulation of PAHs in liver tissue over time. Together, these results suggest that increasing and chronic PAH exposure and metabolism may be taxing the energy budgets of tilefish, particularly adult females, with potentially negative impacts on fitness. Environ Toxicol Chem 2019;38:2659-2671. © 2019 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of SETAC.


Deepwater Horizon; Fish indices; Gulf of Mexico; Oil spills; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); Tilefish

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